HL Deb 15 August 1889 vol 339 cc1295-7

Second Report from the Select Committee considered (according to order).


I think it right that I should make a few remarks upon the Report of the Committee on the office of the Clerk of the Parliaments, because it contains matter that is of rather more importance than these Reports usually contain. The House will probably remember that early last Session a Sub-Committee of the Black Rod Committee was appointed with a view to inquire into the emoluments and salaries of the officers of the House. That Committee did not report last year, but the Sub-Committee's Report is embodied in the Report which now lays on your Lordships' Table. I do not think it will be necessary for me to go through the Report in detail. It has been in your Lordships' hands for some days, and perhaps it will be sufficient for me if I mention what are the leading changes recommended. To sum the matter up, the changes will probably in time effect an economy of nearly £7,000 a year in the establishments of the House, but I should say that these changes are not intended to affect, and will not affect, any present occupier of any post. It is only intended that they should come into effect as vacancies occur in those posts, the object being to reduce the salaries of certain officers. The economies chiefly effected, I should say, are in the Department of the Usher of the Black Rod, and to some extent in the Department of the Clerk of the Parliaments. The whole of these economies will be seen briefly in the Table appended to the Report. I think that what I have said is sufficient to show your Lordships that the Report has been prepared with considerable care, as the Committee has sat many times; and I trust that it may satisfy critics in another place, who have of late years criticised the Estimates for the House of Lords Offices. If there are any questions which any noble Lord wishes to put to me, I will be happy, to the best of my ability, to answer them; but I think I have explained the object of this Report sufficiently, and I now beg to move that it be agreed to.


It is a great satisfaction to me to see that existing holders are not to be disturbed in the positions which they hold; and I hope that a future Parliament may not be so illiberally disposed as this Report shows the present to be. My respected predecessor relinquished £4,000 a year of his salary and patronage. The Earl of Ellen-borough used to say that his father received £14,000 a year, and that he gloried in doing nothing. I can only tell you that for six years my father granted me a large income—more than the fees amounted to—and be was obliged to maintain me in "that comely Portland Place," as Lord Beaconsfield calls it in his last novel, for six years, and if ever there was an ill-used man on the face of the earth, that man was the Lord Chief Justice. It was said to me by one of the ushers of the Court (who went Circuit with the Lord Chief justice), "The respect shown to Lord Campbell in comparison with your father is as the 'antipodes' of light to darkness," I believe it was the truth that never a more independent Judge sat upon the Bench; and his salary was taken away from him within seven years after it was declared by Parliament; so that he and his family were actually robbed. In this case there is notice given, but it must be extremely unpleasant to the holders of the present places to see that what they have is grudged them by anticipated reforms on the part of those persons who, if they came into this House, might accept the title of Lord Clotures.

Report considered (according to Order), and agreed to.